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What He Said…

A sculpture of tree branches by Andy Blackwell
Sculpture by Andy Blackwell, near Shaugh Prior, Dartmoor

There’s an expression that frequently seems to be  dropped into everyday conversation these days.

It’s generally delivered from a bystander who is in full agreement of an eloquent speaker who is waxing lyrical about something important.

When the flair-filled speaker finishes their dialogue, the humbled watcher simply says, ‘What he said’, showing their full agreement for the sentiment.

We’ve received a lot of correspondence from entrants and admirers of the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize; one arrived this morning with a poetic contribution attached from performance poet Andy Blackwell.

With Andy’s kind permission, we’d like to share it and all we can say is, ‘What he said’

Us and Trees: by Andy Blackwell

We hid behind their big fat trunks
and climbed upon their branches
to keep from danger on the ground
and catch our teas and lunches
we picked up sticks to poke around
and give our hands more reach
to knock off fruit from apple trees
and plum and pear and peach
then we moved out of our caves
and made our shelters out of wood
we bent the lengths and weaved and stacked
because we understood that wood, was good to build a neighbourhood
and arrows tipped with sharpened stones
and bows we bent to shoot
and when we sat around the fire to play our drum and flute
we understood that wood was good to give us light and heat
to chase away the wolves and bears to warm our hands and feet
the centuries came and went and came and went some more and more
and we found new ways to use the wood we shape and saw
the oak that covered hill and dale and coast and creek and moor
became the ships we built so strong that took us off to war
and so we conquered everything, it wasn’t enough, to just explore
so wood made good for forts and camps and instruments of war
and books and paper and desks and pencils
so we can write the word
and don’t forget that someone said
the pen is mightier than the sword
and I could go on and on and on and on ’til you were bored
about the things that you can make with wood, like plank and board
and rod and dowel and eave and beam and wedge and two be four
and frame and door and wall and floor
this building that we’re in for sure
is full of wood because its good
to build a sturdy neighbourhood
in fact I’d go as far to say that it is really cool
and if we took away the wood
you could kiss goodbye to school!

Andy Blackwell is an artist and poet, working in Devon and Cornwall for 7th Rise, helping children connect to their rich natural heritage, helping raise nature’s next generation of custodians.

Thank you Andy!

The Team